ravenna_c_tan: (slytherclaw)

I went to the massive Romance Writers of America national conference this past week and one of the best things about this conference is that so many of the top writers in the genre are here. RWA and the romance community at large is extremely open. It’s the only place I know of where you can take workshops presented by writers who have literally sold in the tens of millions of books where they tell you how you can do it, too.

One event I did not want to miss was the Paranormal Authors Chat with Heather Graham, Nalini Singh, and Rebecca Zanetti. Since I have a paranormal/urban fantasy series starting with Tor Books in 2017 (The Vanished Chronicles), I definitely wanted to soak up whatever wisdom I could. These women are three giants of the field, plus Heather Graham was so unbelievably nice to me when I was a young struggling writer years and years ago that I still remember it vividly.

(The story: We were at a group signing together at a bookstore, I was feeling like an unknown, unwanted piece of chopped liver, while she had a line out of the door. I was at the seat next to her. She could have ignored me and instead she made me feel welcome and included. I love her forever, and this same spirit of inclusion and helping others pervades the whole RWA so far as I can tell.)

You can look up each of these writers’ bona fides but if you are new to them, they are all New York Times bestsellers many times over. Nalini Singh is the author of the Psy-Changeling and the Guild Hunter series among many dozens of other books. Rebecca Zanetti has published over 25 dark paranormals and has been a finalist for the RT Award. Heather Graham has written close to 200 vampire and paranormal novels at this point and was a founder of Florida’s chapter o the RWA. Giants, I tell you.

What I’m presenting here is a boiled-down version of the chat that took place. It looks like a transcript but I only capture about 60-70% of what is actually said, and I don’t always get exactly the right words, so don’t take this as quotable gospel. Also I only include here the portion with moderator questions. The audience questions were also fantastic and I learned a lot, but you know, if you want ALL of it, you have to start coming to these conventions yourself… (or buy the audio recordings of the convention, which are available through the RWA!).

Why did you chose paranormal?

Nalini: I write about telapths and shapefhuters and vampires and angels…why? I started with that because I’ve always been fascinated with the potential of our minds, if we could use 100% of our brains 100% of the time. But what’s the cost of that? What it drove you insane? That was the genesis of the Psy series. The shapeshifters just kind of showed up in the book, as they do because it’s a paranornmal. I wanted to write some shifter that were at home in their skins because I had just read a bunch of books wher the shifters are never happy! I thought I would love to be able to change into a tiger. Why aren’t there any shifters in books who like being shifters? So mine are. The Guild Hunter series… there are angels and vampires and… I just believe in not thinking too much about it. If you think too much about it you think, wow that’s weird… I really believe just let it out and it might be bonkers but let it be awesome bonkers.

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Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

ravenna_c_tan: (slytherclaw)

Whew! At last I can tell you all the news! We’ve been working on a project for quite a while now and I can finally officially announce that my upcoming new paranormal series, THE VANISHED CHRONICLES, will published by Tor Books!

I’ve long admired Tor as a publishing house. When I founded Circlet Press back in 1992, Tor founder Tom Doherty gave me some of my first and best advice about book publishing. Over the years I’ve only remained impressed with the quality of Tor’s list and if you look on my shelves you’ll see many of my favorite books bear the Tor logo, like Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart and Steven Brust’s The Phoenix Guards. To be joining them is beyond exciting.

THE VANISHED CHRONICLES will be a paranormal/urban fantasy series where I play with two of my favorite things: 1) BDSM, and 2) the idea that magical world co-exists with our own but non-magical folks have gotten the details wrong. In THE VANISHED CHRONICLES I’ll explain where all those myths about vampires come from. “Vampires” may not be real, but an ancient cult of blood magic? Yes, please!

If you read my Magic University books you know I like to mix ancient prophecy with modern sexuality. So there will be passion, power, eroticism, magic, love, et cetera. The first book is tentatively scheduled to come out in Spring 2017, so you’ve got a while to anticipate it.

If you’d like to keep up to date on my progress, and maybe even get sneak peeks of some sexy scenes, there’s always my monthly email newsletter. Sign up here:
Cecilia’s Mailchimp List

(P.S. Note about the term “paranormal” — I’m using ti somewhat interchangeably here with “urban fantasy.” The series will have a romantic pairing in each book, but will have an overarching plot, so some might count that as paranormal romance, some might count that as urban fantasy. I count it as both, basically…)

magic u forthcoming banner

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

ravenna_c_tan: (slytherclaw)

Paranormal Romance: Dead, Soft, or Rearing Up to Bite?
With Kate Douglas, Rebecca Zanetti, and Cynthia Eden
RWA 2014 Panel

So one thing I think I’ve learned about panels and workshops at RWA. Very often the people teaching them are not just “bestselling authors.” Very often they’ve got book sales in the millions, and the number of novels they have published is 50, 100, 200… These are not lightweights.

On this panel alone, which intrigued me because the rumor that “Paranormal is dead” has been going around New York publishing for a while now, we had Kate Douglas, author of 53 paranormals, 38 with New York publishers, but also some with Ellora’s Cave and some self-published, Rebecca Zanetti, a multi-bestseller with Grand Central, Entangled and Kensington, and Cynthia Eden, a two-time Rita award finalist who has been on the NYT, USA Today, and Digital Book World bestseller lists.

Here are just a few of the pithy and relevant things they said that I noted for myself. They began by explaining that they put the panel together because they were at a previous conference where there was a panel that said paranormal is over, you should run away from it as fast as you can. All the paranormal authors were talking afterward and saying to each other, are you doing okay? And they found out that actually they were all doing pretty well.

“Look how crowded this session is,” Cynthia Eden pointed out. “I think that’s a sign how much interest there is in this genre. There is still a market.”

Kate Douglas put the rumors of demise in perspective this way: “I had 31 [paranormals] with Kensington and sales suddenly tanked. But now there are so many successful self-published ones. I did a series with Kensington where they did one, I did one, then did the third, I did the fourth. And sales are comparable.” (Speaking of the Dark Wolf series.)

Rebecca Zanetti: “I heard yesterday that you ‘had to’ self-publish if you do PNR. But I have two friends who just sold PNR debuts to major publishers. Those readers are out there.”

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Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

ravenna_c_tan: (slytherclaw)

I hurried out of the room this morning to try to get to Nalini Singh’s workshop on Writing Paranormal Romance after hearing tales of how some other workshops were so full that there wasn’t even standing room: people were standing out in the hallway trying to hear them. (The one on “How to Write Faster” was one of them: glad I slept in a little bit instead of trying to get there only to be shut out. Fortunately all RWA members can download the handouts from that class and many others through the conference app! Win!) Funny how the threads tie together in life: two weeks ago I was on a panel at Readercon on recommending romances to sf/fantasy readers, and of course Nalini’s praises were sung. Now here I am at a romance convention and I get to hear the woman herself impart wisdom. I love my life, did I mention that?

First, a little note about diversity. Yes, this conference is notably “whiter” than a lot of the conferences I attend. Many of the science fiction conventions I go to have actively recruited writers of color as speakers and fans of color as attendees. It’s really noticeable to me to go somewhere now where the small percentage of people of color stick out like sore thumbs. I don’t know if that’s part of RWA demographics or the fact that we’re in San Antonio (where I’ve never been) or that the hotel convention rate was a whopping $229 a night and maybe that skews the attendees base toward the most privileged. All I can say is this con seems very white. So it was interesting that at Nalini Singh’s talk, I felt like there were more people of color in the audience. I counted: out of 62 attendees in the workshop, 12 were visibly women of color. (There were only 4 men in the room, all white.) That seemed like a higher percentage than in the general population here, and I wondered if that was because Nalini herself is a person of color, leading to a greater comfort level? Or because paranormal itself so often deals with themes of integrating the “other” or embracing the “other”? I can only speculate, but diversity and representation are issues that come up again and again in my activist work and in the fandom communities I am part of, so it’s on my mind.

But now to the actual subject of the workshop, Writing Paranormal Romance. Nalini is witty, fun, and smart, and I didn’t write down even half of what she said, so let me assure you if you think you can just read my blog instead of attending a conference like this one and still get all the good stuff: you’re wrong. Here’s a tiny fraction of the wisdom imparted:

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Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.


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August 2017

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